Research analysts from Piper Jaffray, a US-based investment bank and asset management firm, have revealed that they believe gaming could become an all-digital affair from as early as 2022.
With the relatively recent evolution of digital storefronts across all major gaming platforms, a shift from physical purchases to the instant, more convenient digital option has been very clear to see. The lower costs associated with publishing games in this way has led to an influx of indie titles appearing almost every week on modern consoles, and even full retail releases are digitally downloaded much more commonly now than they were several years ago.
It's certainly something that is constantly evolving, and something that will no doubt continue to grow over the coming years, but this recent claim from Piper Jaffray suggests that digital purchases could be set to completely take over the market in just four years' time. The analysts even describe this potential shift as "a certainty".
"It is a certainty that video games will be approximately 100% digital in the coming years. While exact timing is hard to pinpoint, we think 2022 is a realistic expectation.”
We have to say that we find the timing mentioned here incredibly unlikely. If recent console generation trends are anything to go by, and definitely when thinking about its level of success so far, we're almost certain that the Switch will still be going strong at this time. While digital purchases may see more growth on the whole, potentially claiming a larger ratio of sales compared to physical carts than they do currently, it would be very surprising to see the console ditch its physical versions of games altogether.
Of course, we're yet to see the next console offerings from Sony and Microsoft, and it's definitely possible that we'll start to see systems relying on digital media alone one day, but publishers know that consumers love to collect physical games. Fans are always quick to lap up limited edition physical releases and deluxe sets at retail, nevermind those who just like to own a physical version regardless of what comes with it, but could all of this be about to change?
An all-digital future is certainly a possibility, and one that brings excitement and concern in equal measure, but will it really happen this quickly?
As ever, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Make sure to throw us a comment down below sharing your feelings on the matter.